Study Finds LGBT Teachers Aren’t Necessarily Allies of LGBT Students

Less Likely to Challenge Bullying of LGBT Students In Classroom

LGBT teachers may know what it’s like to be bullied, but they’re not stepping up to the plate and protecting their LGBT students when the students are harassed.  A new study conducted by Dr. Tiffany Wright at Millersville University in Pennsylvania found that heterosexual teachers are more apt to intervene when LGBT students are bullied.

The Research

Dr. Wright’s research included interviews with more than three hundred and fifty teachers and principals.  They were asked about how they deal with homophobic incidents they witness at school.

Nearly sixty percent of those interviewed claimed they had heard other teachers make homophobic comments, and two-thirds admitted they had seldom seen another teacher intervene when such comments occurred in school.

GLSEN Findings Echo Dr. Wright’s Research

GLSEN ( The Gay, Straight Education Network)  research bears out this finding. Four out of five LGBT youth say they don’t know one supportive youth at school. Nine out of ten LGBT teens are victims of anti-gay bullying. Many LGBT kids skip class, sometimes as much as one day a month, for fear of being harassed.

Fear of Losing Jobs

Over one-third of the interviewed teachers said they fretted about their jobs being at risk if they came out to their co-workers.  Sixty-two percent of interviewees were worried that if they came out to their students, they’d lose their jobs.

Says Dr. Wright: “a lot of folks, theoretically might be in favor of gay marriage and have liberal views. But when you’re talking about their kids, there’s a little different.  Then, suddenly, people’s prejudices come out.”

Just a Few of Those Fired

Dr. Wright’s theory plays out in the many examples of firings of LGBT teachers across the U.S.

  • Last March, Tom Klasnic, an elementary school principal in Gresham, Oregon says school leadership decided not to renew his contract because he is openly gay.
  • Disciplinary action was taken against lesbian teacher Christa Dias who was fired, she contends, because she had artificial insemination, resulting in her pregnancy.
  • In February, Assistant Principal Mike Moroski, was fired from his job at Purcell Marian High School by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for endorsing gay marriage in a blog post.
  • Music teacher Al Fischer was dismissed in 2012 from St. Ann Catholic School in Mo. for planning on marrying his partner.
  • Carla Hale, teacher at Ohio’s Bishop Watterson High School was fired when her partner’s name was listed in her mother’s newspaper obituary.
  • Recently, English teacher gay Ken Bencomo was dismissed of his duties as English teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in California because his wedding picture appeared in the town newspaper.

And the list goes on and on while both the LGBT teachers and students suffer in silence.

Two Ways You Can Support GLBT Youth This Week

October is Anti-Bullying Month

In deference to October as anti-bullying month, glaad, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is sponsoring Spirit Day on Friday, October 19th.  On that day, millions of Americans will wear purple to speak out against bullying and to show support for GLBT youth.

Why Purple?  It represents spirit on the rainbow flag.  Participants will either wear purple on Spirit Day or change their social media profile pictures to purple using GLAAD’s Spirit Day apps available at “By going purple for Spirit Day, millions of Americans are helping to send a clear message that no one should be bullied simply because of who they are,” states GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.

Businesses that Participate in Spirit Day

AT&T is the exclusive underwriter of the of the Spirit Day Text purple campaign: supporters can donate to GLAAD, Glsen ( Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network)and The Trevor Project by texting ‘PURPLE’ to 80888 to make a $5 contribution.

American Apparel, the Los Angeles clothing manufacturer launched a Spirit Day store featuring the company’s purple clothing items. Supporters will receive a special 10% discount on the purple items by using the promo code ‘SPIRIT’ at check out.  American Apparel will donate 10% of all ‘purple proceeds’ to GLAAD.

Celebrities Don Purple on October 19th

Hosts of ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘The Talk,” ‘E!News,’ ‘Chelsea Lately,’ among others, have pledged to wear purple along with Katy Butler, the 17 year old openly lesbian Michigan high school student whose campaign changed the Motion Picture  ‘R’ rating of the documentary “Bully.” Butler is calling for President Obama and Governor Romney to wear purple on Friday.

What will you be wearing this Friday?

GLSEN Sponsors ALLY WEEK, October 15-19, 2012

Glsen, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students is sponsoring its seventh Ally Week in schools and communities nationwide October 15-19. Ally Week is a time that student organizers can plan events that serve to identify, support, and celebrate allies against anti-LGBT language, bullying and harassment in U.S. schools. Students, often with the help of Glsen’s resources, plan events for their school community through their Gay Straight Alliances, similar clubs, pledge drives, PSA announcements, as well as workshops. The events increase awareness for students and school staff of anti-LGBT behavior while working to build the networks of support within the schools.

Ways to Show Your Support

  • Register your school and event on
  • Take the Ally Pledge found on
  • Print badges and twibbons from website to use.
  • Make a video of why you’re an ally or why allies are important to you.
  • Post your story about why allies are important to your or why it’s important that you as an ally are creating safer schools for LGBT youth.
  • Download  resources that include sample letter to administrators, printable pledge form, printable pledge cards, Ally Week Organizing Manual, 20 Things You Can Do for Ally Week, Ally 101 Workshop Guide, and Thank you Card to send to allies.
  • Find out now about other days of action such as National Silence Day in April 2013.

Most importantly, show your support not just for this week, but throughout the year for GLBT students.